Contrary to its name, the signature item at Rita's Ice is a sandwich. Well, sort of. Known as the gelati, the tasty creation consists of a mound of italian ice—made from scratch every day using fresh fruit—crammed between two giant dollops of frozen custard. The gelati, along with a construction team that demands to be paid in sprinkles, has helped Rita's expand to more than 500 italian ice stores in the United States over nearly three decades. The franchise has become so popular that it even made the top of Zagat's list of Best Quick Refreshment chains in 2012.
But the expansion would mean nothing if the desserts themselves weren't delicious. Thankfully, Rita's carries more than a dozen flavors of italian ice, which run the gamut from cantaloupe and guava to cotton candy. The shop also serves gelato, cream ice, milkshakes, and sundaes awaiting to be piled with limitless toppings. To keep taste buds tempted, Rita's consistently adds inventive and seasonal flavors to their menu. Among these are strawberry Starburst italian ice, marshmallow peanut butter cream ice, and pumpkin cheesecake cream ice.
Wanna Chill? doesn't serve run-of-the-mill snow cones. Instead, they keep things cool with handmade cups of shave ice, also known as Hawaiian shave ice, that incorporate a wide range of toppings and other ingredients. To start, customers choose a base such as ice cream, boba poppers, fruit, or Azuki. Then, they choose up to three flavors for the soft shave ice of their treat, picking from a selection of more than 50 syrups including watermelon, black cherry, blue bubblegum, red raspberry, and even wedding cake. Sweet toppings like caramel, sour spray, and sweetened condensed milk provide the finishing touch to the frosty masterpiece.
Whether perching underneath an umbrella on the patio, or admiring the eatery’s display case of freshly crafted treats, visitors at Western City Bagel can bask in the comforting scent of baked goods and deli sandwiches. Unlike firecracker sushi rigged with live pyrotechnics, the shop’s bagel sandwiches are a culinary experiment gone right, making the traditional sandwich even better with stacks of turkey, tomato, albacore tuna, and bacon between two halves of a toasty, chewy bagel. The bagels themselves come in a variety of flavors, such as everything, poppy seed, and sprouted wheat. The shop opens at 6 a.m., filling quickly with steam from an espresso machine as early risers dine on open-face bagel feasts smeared with cream cheese and topped with lox.
The bakers at Frosted Cupcakery employ old-fashioned elbow grease and quality ingredients to condense gigantic gourmet-cake flavor into tiny bite-sized confections. With 14 daily flavors, a handful of seasonally rotating specialties, and a constantly replenished fresh-baked stock throughout the day, Frosted Cupcakery features ample treat opportunities. Royal white cupcakes are crowned with a choice of chocolate, vanilla, nutella, or coconut vanilla buttercream, and red velvet cakes are shrouded in rich cream-cheese frosting. Seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, orange, strawberry, and October flavor-of-the-month orange chocolate chip, topped with orange chocolate buttercream, are only available until the weather cools, forcing cupcake trees to hibernate for the winter.